2021 has been, without a doubt, one of the most memorable years in modern music history. The invisible elephant in the room was obviously COVID-19, which triggered the unprecedented year-plus blackout on nearly all live shows. Thankfully this spring's widespread vaccination rollout proved effective enough for the restrictions to lift, and by summer bands were finally able to hit stages throughout the country.
While we're not quite in "post-COVID" times just yet, the sheer joy of experiencing the cranked sounds and singular live energy of gatherings big and small — from sweaty Turnstile club gigs and raucous Slipknot road shows to massive Metallica-led festivals — was beyond rejuvenating.
Plus, there's also been a bunch of killer albums released this year to keep us entertained in between mosh pits. Old-school heavies Iron Maiden, Carcass and At the Gates brought the heat, scene leaders Mastodon and Gojira upped the ante, Converge and Chelsea Wolfe dropped a bomb collab and a clutch of up-and-coming trailblazers — Spiritbox, Jinjer, Turnstile, Scowl, Portrayal of Guilt and more — pushed heavy music into exciting new territories. (See Revolver's 25 favorite albums of 2021 here.)
As we close the books on 2021, we're catching up with some of our favorite artists to get their picks for the best of the best of the past year. Below, Anthrax bassist Frank Bello shares his favorite shit: from Deafheaven's "moody" standout to a beloved dysfunctional TV family.
I've liked Deafheaven since I first heard them when they opened on an Anthrax tour. This album shows their growth as songwriters and as a band.
My favorite song on Infinite Granite is "Great Mass of Color" because it's atmospheric, moody and has great hook to it.
Succession has great acting, storylines and characters. Can't wait for the next show!
Would it be a shameless self-promotion if I said my favorite book is my book: Fathers, Brothers, and Sons? I just started reading the new Paul McCartney book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, and that is easily becoming one of my favorites.
Getting to step onto a live stage again and play an actual show in front of a great crowd with Anthrax again was definitely my favorite musical moment of 2021.
For 2022 I'm excited and hopeful that we can all get back to living our lives safely. And I'm hopeful and excited to have a new Anthrax record and tour sometime later in the year. Just looking forward to all of us getting back to a normal life: whatever that means these days! [Laughs] Cheers!